Doomsday Chronicles, cont'd

I love the title of this blog I just discovered:

Global Change Watch: Peak Energy, Climate Change, and the Collapse of Global Civilization

Any guesses (from the doomsday-is-imminent crowd) as to which will upend life as we know it first: peak energy or climate change?

12 Responses to “Doomsday Chronicles, cont'd”

  1. thingsbreak says:

    Peak oil doesn’t mean the end of oil. Peak energy (I’m guessing here that refers to a peak in the production of traditional, easily extractable and processed fossil fuels?) won’t mean the end of fossil energy.

    We’ve got plenty of carbon energy to burn. Hopefully we won’t be stupid enough to do it. http://i56.tinypic.com/72vmn7.png
     
    Imminent is a relative time frame. The political choices we make lock in consequences down the road. Failure to get a massive clean energy infrastructure in place (and assuming the pixie dust never comes through) “imminently” (from a policy-making perspective), will lock in climatic changes for a long, long time. That doesn’t mean the world ends tomorrow. That doesn’t mean we can’t make a Herculean effort further down the road. It just makes the odds increasingly less likely.
     
    People snarking about imminent doom don’t seem to get it. Or perhaps they know they’ll be dead anyway and don’t care to.
     
    I remain (in spite of ever-mounting evidence to the contrary) optimistic that we’ll make a big low carbon push in time to avoid the worst of it. Perhaps that’s just a coping mechanism, though.

  2. harrywr2 says:

    Peak anything is an economic argument.
    Peak energy is unlikely to ever occur.
    At what point economic substitution occurs between various sources of energy is a subject of debate.
     
    Personally I think peak coal consumption will end up being around 8 billion tones per year.
    I used a 3% annual increase in electricity consumption and simply extrapolated out the 2005-2010 nuclear build doubling which occurred to 2020.  One plant every 56 days in 2005, one plant every 28 days in 2010, one plant every 14 days in 2015 and one plant every 7 days in 2020. Using a 1.4 GW standard nuclear plant design in 2020 being built every 7 days is sufficient to meet increased electricity demand in 2020.
    New nuclear plants are cost competitive with new coal plants at a coal price of approximately $80/ton. The price of coal in Europe, Asia and Africa is currently running at $120/ton. So the economics of coal vs nuclear everywhere but North America is undeniable.
    Do to the restrictions in global nuclear industrial capacity the difference between what we can build in the next 10 years and what we need ends up being about 5,000 terawatt/hrs per year.
    1,000 terawatt/hrs of hydro and wind coupled with hydro seems realistic. That leaves us with a 4,000 terawatt/hrs per year shortfall in 2020. If we assume coal ‘fills the gap’ then we will need approximately 1.6 billion additional tons of coal per year globally which takes us from the about 6.5 billion tons being consumed now to 8 billion tons in 2020.
     
    I have no idea what the impact on climate will be if electricity production from fossil fuels peaks in 2020 but it seems realistic that it will do to normal economic forces.
     
     
     
     
     
     

  3. Tom Fuller says:

    “We are burdensome to the world; the resources are scarcely adequate for us.” (Tertullian, 200 AD)

  4. Looking like climate change and ocean acidification might be making a move through the pack and along the inside of the doomstakes, according to these crazy catastrophists…
     
    ExxonMobil warns carbon emissions will rise by 25% in 20 years

  5. Francis says:

    Gee Tom, someone who lived 1800 years ago was wrong about something, so I’m supposed to feel better about overallocation on the Colorado River?  You must think your debate opponents are really dumb.

  6. PDA says:

    At least we’re recycling post titles…

  7. Tom Fuller says:

    Not all of them, Francis. But wouldn’t it be nice if we had learned something from errors from so long ago…

  8. “Wome… is your fwiend! To pwove our fwiendship, we will welease one of our wong-doers! Who shall I welease? Vewy well, I shall… Welease… Woger!” (Pilate, c. 33 AD)

  9. Bill says:

    Why is poor old Acid Rain left out of the betting these days? And what happened to Nuclear Waste, Club of Rome and Ozone Hole?

    Are there only two runners left in the horse race of the apocalpyse?

    We must be well inside the last furlong.

  10. thingsbreak says:

    @9 Bill:
    Why is poor old Acid Rain left out of the betting these days?
     
    Because it has been largely (though not entirely) ameliorated by comprehensive emissions trading legislation. That not only failed to wreck the economy- as predicted by industry and anti-regulatory mouthpieces- but is considered to be one of if not the greatest environmental successes in modern American history.
     
    Ozone Hole?
     
    Because it has been largely (though not entirely) ameliorated by an international emissions reduction treaty. That not only failed to wreck the economy- as predicted by industry and anti-regulatory mouthpieces- but is considered to be one of if not the greatest inter-governmental cooperative environmental successes in modern history.
     
    I’m beginning to see a pattern here…

  11. Ray Donahue says:

    things that break – nonsense.

  12. Ray appears baffled by the idea that problems can be solved.
     
    Interesting.

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